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This is The Last Time We'll Let Richie Explain Why the Mavs Were Bounced, Swear.

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Look, I could waste valuable virtual space detailing how one of the poor Rangers’ building blocks -- Nelson Cruz -- has exactly zero homers in 70 at-bats this season. Or I could bore you with fish tales about Tony Romo playing golf. But, I know, what you really want is more sifting through the debris of the Mavericks’ collapse. And even if it’s the last thing on earth you want to hear, here it is anyway: Today’s Top Five Sorta-Nutty Theories Why the Mavs Lost And Stuff.

5. The Sports Illustrated Jinx Theory: Dirk Nowitzki and Steve Nash were on the cover two weeks ago, and lookie here. Dirk’s reputation: bloodied. Nash’s nose: more bloodied.

4. The Artificial Ambience Overkill Theory: Like most of Dallas’ women, the American Airlines Center’s atmosphere is visually stimulating, but way fake. Mavs’ fans have been lobotomized from Reunion Rowdies into so many of Pavlov’s dogs, sitting, tails wagging, waiting to be prompted to cheer by obnoxious PA dork Billy Hayes. During Game 5, every time fans started to generate any sort of original noise -- once even chanting, “You suck, you suck” during Baron Davis free throws -- Hayes interrupted with his tired, old, “Let's go, Mavs!” No, you go, Billy. And never come back.

3. PlayStation3 Theory: Mavs’ action: Lose. Fans’ reaction: Blow it up! In this video-game generation where a fresh start or a new life or 100 percent health is just a reset button away, knee-jerks think it should be easy to start over. Today’s fans -- and players -- demand fast food and HOV lanes and instant coffee and overnight overhauls. I hate today’s fans.

2. Euro Trash Theory:Unlike you and me, Dirk grew up in Germany, not debating Magic vs. Bird vs. Jordan, but playing handball and tennis. If you’ve read enough of my crap over the years, you know I love and appreciate him. But he didn’t evolve with basketball in his blood. More than something he loves, it’s something he’s really good at. Deep, deep, deep down, I bet Dirk would admit that leading Germany to an Olympic medal is just as important as -- if not more important than -- leading the Mavs to an NBA title.

Furthermore, have the league’s top 10 stars take an NBA history test, and I betcha a nickel Dirk finishes 10th. Not that it manifests itself in passive play at inopportune times. Or does it? With his talents and temperament, just seems like we should prepare for Dirk to craft a career closer to Bob McAdoo's than Larry Bird's.

1. The Alien Theory: The Mavs were 61-11 before signing 102-year-old backup backup center Kevin Willis. And only 8-8 after signing him. --Richie Whitt

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